What brought you to DC’s newest maxi-series, The Human Target? Was it the titular character of Christopher Chance? Have you been a fan of his comic and television series? Did you like the character’s appearances in the Arrowverse shows? Or was it the art featuring the Justice League International? I’ll be honest with you; the latter is what brought me here. What a captivating treat it is that this issue features Greg Smallwood’s breathtaking art, and a gripping Tom King mystery that calls on you to return.
Christopher Chance, aka the Human Target, was created by creative legends Len Wein and Carmine Infantino. I remember the character from ads in various DC Comics issues promoting his comic series or television shows, but honestly, I can’t say I remember an adventure with him as a supporting character. I have to give significant credit to Greg Smallwood’s art teases on social media that attracted my attention to the book. Getting a chance to read more JLI is always a win in my book.
Sadly, they are not really in this issue, just the teases that we’ve seen on social media. That said, the teases worked just fine as a lure to get me here to read the comic, and the art and mystery compelled me once I got here. The words and style are perfect for presenting a gritty private eye trying to solve his potential murder. The art, both in look and color, took me to a world that was a beautiful reminder of Darwyn Cooke’s Parker books, but with more color to give it life. There were just enough guest stars to remind me that I am still in the DC Universe, and it was perfect fun.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Human Target #1!
Tom King creates a fascinating job for Chance to take on, posing as Lex Luthor to find out who wants to kill him. If it sounds like that’d be a long list, it is, and even the characters recognize that. While on this job, Chance gets a poisoned cup of coffee and has a short amount of time to solve who wants him or Luthor dead, so Lex Luthor isn’t clear of being a suspect in this extra twist on the case. Tom King also does a great job of bringing in characters to be a secondary voice in his maxi-series, so I’m hopeful that Doctor Mid-Nite will return in a role that gives his character a spotlight like Mister Terrific in Strange Adventures. Plus, Mid-Nite is one of my favorite characters, so I’m thrilled to see him here. Now, my question is, which doctor is under the cowl?
Artist Greg Smallwood creates some fantastic scenes for this world. While this is a Black Label series, it doesn’t feel overly dark, yet it has enough noir style to keep that detective vibe alive. I enjoy the level of action that Smallwood features, as it is just epic enough to be perfect for a ground-level hero to manage on his own without calling on the superheroes. I also appreciate the mix of modern and retro in this world, giving a classic James Bond feel (with smartphones). I’ll certainly be back to see what Christopher Chance’s last 12 days will look like over this next year.
Here is a great comic that can lure you outside of the superhero feats with a mystery. DC Comics will get a chance to showcase its detectives with Christopher Chance in this maxi-series by King and Smallwood. The art is stunning; not overtly gritty, but still very noir. It reminds you of a timeless world that has superheroes but isn’t drowning in them.
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